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Medical Assistant Programs


Learn about different types of Medical Assistant Programs, both in person and online!

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     Medical Assistant HQ

       Medical Assistant Programs

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Medical Assistant Programs
There are several different types of Medical Assistant Programs. There
are vocational programs in which you learn the skills needed to be a
Medical Assistant but do not receive any college credit. There are also
community college programs where you can either complete training
and earn a certificate (No College Credit) or earn an associate’s degree
(College Credit). In addition, some hospitals and care centers will have
an on the job training program if they are short staffed. We will discuss
all of these different options.

Medical Assistant Programs | Vocational Programs
Vocational Medical Assistant programs are a great way to get trained to
be a medical assistant in the shortest amount of time. Most vocational
programs last one year or less. These programs usually consist of 6
months of classroom learning, followed up by 6 months of laboratory

Many high schools will offer a Medical Assistant program for high school
juniors and seniors to prepare them for a career. If you fall into this age
group, look into your high school vocational offerings. You may be able to
get the training for free, if your high school does have this program.

If you are out of high school or have your GED, you can still look for
vocational programs. Many states such as New York have statewide
vocational schools. The cost of the programs is usually minor and most
states have programs setup to let you take out loans or get financial aid.

Medical Assistant Programs | Community Colleges
Most community colleges have Medical Assistant Programs. Usually,
these programs have two options. The first option is the quick path, in
which you can get your Medical Assistant certificate in one year. The
second option is usually an Associate’s degree that will take two years

but give you college credit.

The first option, the one year Medical Assistant certificate, is usually the
same as a vocational program. You will have a variety of classroom
learning and hands on laboratory learning. This program is geared
towards teaching everything you will need to know once you are on the

If you think you will want to go school in the future or may want to be a
nurse, I’d recommend going with the Associate’s program. Having an
associate’s degree will put you above other entry-level applicants that
just have a certificate. Having a degree and an extra year of knowledge
will also help with getting promotions. Usually, in the associate’s
program, you will do class room learning for 2-3 semesters and hands on
laboratory training for 1-2 semesters.

However, if you don’t plan on going to college in the future, there are
plenty of Medical Assistant job openings and you should have no
problems finding a job with just the certificate.

Since most colleges have a career center, you may be provided with job
placement assistance with either option. In fact, this career is in so much
demand, you may have companies visiting your school prior to
graduation to try and persuade you to work with them.

Medical Assistant Programs | On the Job Training
Since Medical Assistants are in demand, some hospitals and
organizations will hire Medical Assistants without any experience.
Usually, if you are hired this way, you will undergo a 1-2 month quick
training program. You may get a certificate for completing the program
but it is only valid for that employer. You can describe your experience
and training when you look for another job but usually you can’t list it as

education. If you go this option, you will most likely make less money.
However, if you are planning on staying with the company, then it will be
beneficial because experience on the job will help you out when finding
your next job. The next employer is likely to overlook your lack of
education as long as you have a two plus years of experience on the job.

Medical Assistant Programs | Which Path is Best?
If you’re wondering which path is best, it is really up to you and your
personal goals. If you need to get into a position fast and don’t mind
staying with the same company for several years, on the job training may
be best for you.

 If you want to get trained quickly but still have education to get a better
job offer, then a vocational program or certificate program may be best
for you.

If you think you will want to continue with college or your goals are to
work as a Medical Assistant for awhile and then become a nurse, getting
your Associate’s degree may be the best path for you.

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